Deer Mouse Droppings

Deer mice can be found in most parts of the United States except the Southeastern states. Deer mice are common in rural and semirural areas. Because they are known carriers of Hantavirus, these mice are potentially extremely dangerous. Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome (HPS) can be spread when mouse droppings, urine or carcasses are disturbed. The HPS becomes airborne and is inhaled by people in the area. Deer mouse droppings may be seen in mouse runways: near cupboards, drawers and other food storage areas. The droppings are smooth with pointed ends and measure 3 t0 6 mm in length and are difficult to distinguish from house mouse droppings, which are not known to be significant carriers of Hantavirus. The removal of these droppings can reduce the spread of mouse-borne diseases.

Utmost care must be taken when handling mouse droppings. The use of approved facemasks with HEPA cartridges and gloves is highly advisable. It is recommended that the droppings, carcass and the adjacent area be sprayed with disinfectant before sweeping. It is best not to vacuum the droppings because this may increase the release of Hantavirus into the air.